Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So, who's the dummy?

I have been raising chicks and integrating them into my flock for five years.  I follow the same routine (more or less):  get chicks; brood chicks in my laundry room until they are feathered out; move them to the chick nursery (aka, the small coop); brood them until it's warm enough outside to put on their screen door; open screen door and introduce them to the WOS (wide open spaces); have them safely meet the big girls through the chicken wire; move them into the big coop.  Start all over again. 

This system has worked wonderfully.  Except for the brooding in the laundry room part, because chicks are very, very dusty and noisy.  But I have limited space and that seems to work best.  Every part of this system has been tested, tried, streamlined.  It works like a charm.  Or, I should say, it had.  This batch of youngsters have been the monkey wrench in my gears.  Things were going along swimmingly until I opened the screen door to widen their horizons.  Getting them out into their little enclosure wasn't the problem.  It was getting them back in.  As the sun set, they would LEAVE the coop and wad together in a corner outside.  Every bloody night.  Then would set in what we referred to as the nightly rodeo, where the large, clumsy, slow-moving person (moi) would run back and forth, trying to corner the buggers.  One night it got particularly exciting as Bernie managed to get inside and "help" me.   I finally gave in and unearthed my butterfly net.

For one whole week, this ocurred every night.  I cursed them as the most stupid chickens on the planet.  I cursed aLOT.  Then, a small, dim bulb of fuzzy memory popped up.  These chicks were started later than I usually start them.  And the temperatures were much higher than usual.  So.....I had taken their brooder light out.  When the sun set, the inside of the coop was darker than outside.  I put their brooder light back in the little coop and turned it on just as twilight began.  They all trooped up the ramp and into the coop. 

I will have to say that, after securing their door for the night, I get some sorry little pleasure yanking the plug on their light.  Dummy, indeed.


  1. Stop beating yourself with the wet noodle. We've ALL done something like that. But I also get a sense lately that you're operating on overload which can add quite a few things to our "Who's the Dummy" lists. Both hubby and I have come to the conclusion that something serious is gonna happen if we don't wise up enough to get adequate (restful, please make it restful!) sleep real soon. It's bad enough when there is one "dangerous" person walking around but double that . . . and some changes are required.

  2. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Love the story...

  3. Too funny! On any other occassion, chicken wrangling is fun. Just maybe not meant to be done at night in your PJs right before bed!

    I don't think you are a dummy. We all do silly stuff and then smack ourselves. The fact that we sometimes have to make the same mistake more than once before it sinks in only makes it more memorable...eventually!

  4. At least you figured it out and then IMPLEMENTED the chicken-light-bulb trick. I STILL wrangle three little stinker hens into the henhouse every night because I'm too lazy to run the electric cord out to the coop to give them their nightlight.

  5. LOL! Isn't it great when the answers turn out to be easy :-)

  6. Mama Pea - But I LIKE wet noodles....hehe. I think you are dead-on. Nothing like a little sleep deprivation to make everything a rodeo.

    Melanie - Yeah, it's funny in retrospect. I was NOT thinking nice thoughts about my chickens a couple of days ago.

    APG - I always love a little cardio work before bed. Makes me sleep an extra hour!

    Carolyn - I think I was too cheap to re-run the extension cord. Don't know why, since it's only on for about 10 minutes. It's a good think they are so darn cute at this age.

    BRF - I have to agree - beats the heck out of chasing the squirts around with a butterfly net.

  7. Too funny. But at least it only took you a week to think up the solution. Some of us go on for years before we figure out how to outsmart these animals. Good work!

  8. Haha! And you thought they were just "special" chickens LOL!

  9. I don't care who you are, that is FUNNY!!! (Been there, done that!)

  10. Too funny ,but yea get some rest!

  11. This was a good one-gave me the chuckle I needed. And glad you figured it all out. I stay confused for MONTHS sometimes!